The importance of Multi-bin Put-away
Most inventory modules within integrated accounting packages work well for small operations. Eventually though, companies run out of warehouse space, so they build or rent more warehouse. Sometimes they could have deferred that cost if instead they had examined their inventory control software. Simple inventory control packages assign one bin to each part number, and this works fine as long as inventory levels remain constant. In the real world, though, as products obsolesce and supply and demand ebb and flow, some bins empty for months, while other bins overflow.
Modern inventory control packages recognize that inventory levels change. They use multi-bin put-away. What's that? With multi-bin put-away, a part's bin allocation isn't fixed in size or number: it changes to accomodate the quantity on hand. Ideally, using multi-bin put-away, there won't be empty shelves in your warehouse. If you define an item's dimensions, the software will create new bins and close empty ones as needed . . . which keeps your shelves full. This is an example of how the right software can save you money.
Keep this in mind when evaluating inventory control software.
In my opinion, the qualities that separate the men from the boys in inventory control software is their ability to
Handle serialized inventory, and
Allow multi-bin put-away.
At pick time, inventory software with multi-bin put-away directs warehouse personnel to the correct bins. Note that the bin for the same part may be different today than it was yesterday. While this may seem odd to the picker, the great advantage is that wasted shelf space and floor space within the warehouse is kept to a minimum -- and for management this translates to increased profits.